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Found 60 results
  1. News Article
    New official guidance on treating menopause will harm women’s health, experts, MPs and campaigners have warned. Last month, new draft guidelines to GPs from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said that women experiencing hot flushes, night sweats, depression and sleep problems could be offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) “alongside or as an alternative to” hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help reduce their menopause symptoms. But critics have castigated the guidance, saying it belittled symptoms through misogynistic language, and women’s health would suffer as a result of failing to emphasise the benefits of HRT on bone and cardiovascular health as opposed to CBT. In its response to the guidance, Mumsnet said NICE's recommendations used “patronising” and “offensive” language and would be “detrimental” to women’s health. Justine Roberts, the founder and chief executive of Mumsnet, said: “Women already struggle to access the HRT they are entitled to. We hear daily from women in perimenopause and menopause who are battling against a toxic combination of entrenched misogyny, misinformation and lack of knowledge among GPs. “Too often they are fobbed off or told they simply need to put up with severe physical and mental symptoms – often with life-changing effects. “By emphasising the negative over the positive, failing to include information about the safest forms of HRT and placing CBT on a par with hormone replacement therapy, this guidance will worsen that struggle. It will make doctors more reluctant to prescribe HRT and women more fearful about asking for or accepting it.” Carolyn Harris, the MP for Swansea East and the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on menopause, said the new guidance was “antiquated”, “naive” and “ill thought-out”. ”Talking can make you feel better, but it’s not going to take away the aches in your joints and it’s not going to change how you live your life,” she said. “Whatever a woman feels is what she needs to support her through the menopause should be readily and immediately available, and that’s not true currently [of HRT or CBT]." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 11 December 2023
  2. Content Article
    The second annual Safety For All conference was held at the Royal College of Physicians in London on Tuesday 5th December 2023. Over 100 members of the healthcare community attended this event, including occupational health professionals, patient safety experts, frontline staff, patients and academics. The conference was hosted by the Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network and Patient Safety Learning as part of the Safety For All campaign, supported by B. Braun, BD, Boston Scientific and Stryker. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from two keynote speakers: Lynn Woolsey, UK Deputy Chief Nurse at the Royal College of Nursing and Dr Henrietta Hughes, Patient Safety Commissioner for England. The conference was chaired and facilitated by Dr Rob Galloway, A&E Consultant at Brighton and Sussex Hospital NHS Trust, with a welcome introduction from Dr Ian Bullock, CEO of the Royal College of Physicians. There were a number of panel sessions and presentations throughout the day which are summarised in the attachment below, including on sustainability, antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic underdosing, violence at work, clinical communications, human factors, implementing the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF), and women's health and the menopause.
  3. News Article
    Women experiencing hot flushes, night sweats, depression and sleep problems could be offered therapy to help reduce their menopause symptoms, under new guidelines. But menopause champions warned that those suffering with symptoms could have long waits for mental health support and stressed that the new draft guidance to GPs from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) must not distract from “ongoing challenges” of getting HRT. A NICE evidence review found that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help make night-time sweats less severe and frequent and should be considered “alongside or as an alternative to HRT”. The guidance is not mandatory but GPs will be expected to take the new guidance “fully into account”, said Nice. Caroline Nokes, chair of the Commons’ women and equalities committee, welcomed the new guidance saying there was no “one size fits all” to help women going through the menopause, but said it must not be used to fob off women, some of whom were still facing drug shortages. A major HRT drug shortage last year resulted in 22 restrictions being put in place, pushing some women to turn to the hidden market or meet up with other women to buy, swap or share medicines. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 November 2023
  4. Content Article
    Whilst menopause affects roughly half the population, there is still much to be understood about the impact on individuals, in particular on their mental health. Amber Sargent and Helen Jones, Senior Safety Investigators at the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB), blog about the patient safety issues that arise when the impact of menopause on mental health is not considered during clinical assessments. In this blog, they explore: why serious mental health disorders develop around menopause the impact of limited research into this important area the role of raising awareness. Read the blog on the HSSIB website Related reading Raising awareness of surgical menopause Top picks: Women's health inequity
  5. News Article
    Most women going through menopause are not receiving effective treatment for their symptoms, in part because of widespread misinformation, according to new research. A comprehensive literature review led by Prof Susan Davis from Monash University in Australia calls for more personalised treatment plans that address the greatly varying physical and mental symptoms of menopause. After adverse affects were reported from the landmark 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study into menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), Davis said there was a blanket fear that “hormones are dangerous” and as a result, “menopause [treatment] just went off the radar”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 6 September 2023
  6. Content Article
    This review from Davis et al. summarises the biology and consequences of menopause, the role of supportive care, and the menopause-specific therapeutic options available to women.
  7. News Article
    Eight in 10 respondents in the largest survey of menopausal women in the UK said their workplace had no basic support in place and 41% said menopause symptoms were treated as a joke by colleagues. The landmark study found menopausal women were being ignored in the workplace and by healthcare providers, with a third saying it took many GP appointments before they were diagnosed with menopause or perimenopause. This rose to 45% for black and minoritised women. The findings were revealed in a report by the Fawcett Society, based on a survey of more than 4,000 women commissioned by Channel 4 for a documentary by Davina McCall. “Menopausal women are experiencing unnecessary misery and it’s a national scandal,” said Jemima Olchawski, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society. “For too long, menopause has been shrouded in stigma. We need to break the culture of silence and ensure menopausal women are treated with the dignity and support they deserve instead of being expected to just get on with it.” Official guidance states hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should be offered to women struggling with menopause symptoms, but there have been acute shortages of some HRT products and demand is expected to rise. The survey found 39% of women said their GP or nurse offered HRT as soon as they knew they were experiencing menopause, but only 14% of menopausal women said they were currently taking HRT. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 5 May 2022
  8. News Article
    A shortage of specific types of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) has left women struggling with untreated symptoms of the menopause. Demand for prescriptions has more than doubled since 2017 - partly because of work by campaigners to extend access - but supply of some products has not kept up. Yasmin Darling's experience of the menopause was sudden and profound. Two years ago, she had two operations to reduce her risk of inherited cancer which plunged her into an early menopause. "It's really hard to navigate medical menopause 10 years early," the 45-year-old says. "When you don't have the product you need, it makes it much more difficult to navigate." Because of Covid, Yasmin has never been seen by a specialist at a menopause clinic, so she is managing as best she can on her own. Claire Lopez, 59, spent three weeks trying to obtain her usual HRT patches from different local chemists but they were out of stock. Without them, her body becomes "very stiff", leading to slipped discs and severe back pain. "I have severe anxiety if I do not have these patches, so the total lack of coordination between GPs and pharmacists was extremely frustrating," Claire says. In the end, she had to arrange a private prescription through a local clinic, in the Midlands, costing £50. The government has said it is determined to ensure supplies of HRT can meet high demand. Minister for Women's Health Maria Caulfield said: "There are over 70 HRT products available in the UK, most of which remain in good supply. "However, we are aware of some issues with women being unable to access certain products. "We will be appointing a new HRT-supply chairperson and convening an urgent meeting of suppliers to look at ways we can work together to improve supply." Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 April 2022
  9. News Article
    Women are being left unable to sleep or work competently because of the shortages of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products used to treat symptoms of the menopause, the former cabinet minister, Caroline Nokes, has said. Millions of women go through the menopause every year, with many experiencing symptoms that can be severe, such as low mood, anxiety, hot flushes and difficulty sleeping, and have a negative impact on everyday life. The number of prescriptions for HRT in England has doubled in the last five years to more than 500,000 a month. But the rise in prescriptions has come amid several years of HRT shortages, with pharmacists often unable to fulfil prescriptions. Shortages have been blamed on manufacturing and supply issues, and have been exacerbated by the growing numbers of women seeking the products. Speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Nokes, chair of the women and equalities committee, called for an urgent debate on the issue to ensure women “can get the supplies that we need”. In October, the government announced that the cost of repeat prescriptions for HRT would be significantly reduced in England. In the Commons on Thursday, Labour MP Nick Smith asked Spencer why there was “no date yet for the HRT prescription changes in England”. Spencer said it was “something the health secretary is looking at, at this moment in time”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 April 2022
  10. News Article
    In an ongoing effort to improve care and support for elderly women and women’s health satisfaction and outcomes in general, the government have published their report summarising written responses from 436 organisations and experts from the Women’s Health Strategy call for evidence. The organisations that contributed to the report included participants from the charity sector, academia, professional bodies, clinicians, royal colleges and other general experts in women’s health. The topics highlighted in the report include: Menstrual health and gynaecological conditions, including the impact of premenstrual syndrome on someone’s quality of life. Fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and maternal health, including women not feeling listened to during and after pregnancy and the provision of bereavement support services. Menopause, including suggestions for improvements in training and guidelines for healthcare professionals. Gynaecological and other cancers, including barriers to accessing high-quality, up to date information on risk factors for female cancers. Mental health, including its interaction with other health conditions across women’s life course. Healthy ageing, including the need to increase focus on the health needs of older women and emphasise women may experience the same conditions as men in different ways. Violence against women and girls, including the complications associated with hymenoplasty and barriers to accessing healthcare support for those who’ve been subject to years of violence and abuse. Minister for Women’s Health Maria Caulfield said: “For generations, women have lived in a healthcare system primarily designed by men, for men. We are committed to tackling the gender health gap, and the publication of our strategy later this year will mark a significant step forward.” She added: “I want to thank the expert individuals and organisations who took the time to respond to our call for evidence. The insights you have provided have been stark and sobering but will be pivotal to ensuring our strategy represents the first-hand experiences of the health care system.” Read full story Source: NHE, 13 April 2022
  11. News Article
    Doctors too often "ignore" women's pain, Sajid Javid said as he called for change in the wake of the Shrewsbury maternity scandal. Writing for The Telegraph, the Health Secretary said the wider NHS needed to do much more to listen to women, adding that too many are left in pain and ignored by clinicians. On Wednesday, the Ockenden report revealed that the deaths of 201 babies and nine mothers at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust could have been avoided, citing a failure to listen to women. Mr Javid wrote: "This week we have seen the tragic reality of what can happen when women's voices are not listened to when it comes to their care. "Donna Ockenden's report into maternity failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals raises specific concerns for maternity services, but more widely we must address issues across the whole of the health and care system when it comes to listening to women's concerns and recognising their pain." In the joint piece with Maria Caulfield, the minister for women’s health, Mr Javid welcomed a "shift in the way we talk about women's health", with more open discussions about areas once seen as taboo. But the pair said more needed to be done – specifically to improve the treatment of endometriosis, an extremely painful gynaecological condition. "We must ensure all women feel confident in going to their GP when they experience symptoms of endometriosis and, when they do, that they are listened to," they said. Too many were "spending too long in pain waiting for a diagnosis, often feeling ignored by clinicians", they warned. Later this year the Government will publish a women's health strategy, which will examine issues including fertility, menopause, and prevention and treatment of diseases. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 31 March 2022
  12. News Article
    Previously offered as prescription only, estradiol tablets, sold under the brand name Gina10, will now be available to women over the age of 50 who have not had a period for more than a year, as part of hormone replacement therapy treatment (HRT). Pharmacists have been offered training to identify who needs the tablets. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) made the decision as part of a strategy to make menopause treatment more accessible for women. Estradiol tablets treat vaginal symptoms caused by a lack of oestrogen, such as dryness, soreness, itching, burning and uncomfortable sex. The product is inserted into the vagina rather than taken by mouth. MHRA chief healthcare quality and access officer Dr Laura Squire called the move a "landmark reclassification for millions of women in the UK". "In reaching this decision, we have seen positive support from a wide range of people, including many women aged 50 years and above who could benefit from this decision," she said. The MHRA hopes the move will relieve pressure on front-line NHS services and give women more freedom in choosing treatments that work for them. Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 September 2022
  13. News Article
    Women going through menopause should be given greater rights and protection in the workplace, MPs say. The Women and Equalities Committee said a lack of support in the UK was pushing women out of work. The cross-party group wants menopause to become a protected characteristic like pregnancy, to give working women more rights. Caroline Nokes, who chairs the committee said: "Stigma, shame and dismissive cultures can, and must, be dismantled." The government, speaking on the issue for England as health issues is devolved to the national governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, said the issue was a priority, highlighting it had recently appointed a women's health ambassador and set up a menopause taskforce to look into workplace support. Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 July 2022
  14. News Article
    Hormone replacement therapy is to be offered over the counter for the first time in the UK after the medicines watchdog gave the green light. Millions of women go through the menopause every year, with the majority experiencing some symptoms that can be severe and have a negative impact on everyday life. In a landmark move hailed as a “huge step forward” for women’s health, the first type of HRT to become available at pharmacies without a prescription will be Gina 10 microgram vaginal tablets (containing estradiol). The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the vaginal tablets would be available for post-menopausal women from September after a safety review. Maria Caulfield, the minister for women’s health, said: “Menopause affects hundreds of thousands of women every year, but for some its symptoms can be debilitating and for many they can be misunderstood or ignored. “Making Gina available over the counter is a huge step forward in enabling women to access HRT as easily as possible, ensuring they can continue living their life as they navigate the menopause.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 20 July 2022
  15. News Article
    Doctors have hit back at critics saying they are failing menopausal women, and said that treating menopause as a hormone deficiency that requires medical treatment could fuel negative expectations and make matters worse. Writing in the British Medical Journal they said there was an urgent need for a more realistic and balanced narrative which actively challenges the idea that menopause is synonymous with an inevitable decline in women’s health and wellbeing, and called for continued efforts to improve awareness about the symptoms and how to deal with them. “Menopause is a natural event for half of humankind. While media attention in the UK may give the impression that growing numbers of women are struggling to cope with menopausal symptoms and are seeking hormonal treatment, there is no universal experience and most women prefer not to take medication unless their symptoms are severe,” wrote Martha Hickey, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues. They added that over-medicalisation of the menopause risked collapsing this wide range of experiences into a narrowly defined disease requiring treatment. “It tends to emphasise the negative aspects of menopause and, while effective treatments are important for those with troublesome symptoms, medicalisation may increase women’s anxiety and apprehension about this natural life stage.” Women’s experiences of menopause were strongly influenced by personal, family and social factors, they said. For instance, a recent review found that negative attitudes and expectations before menopause predicted the likelihood of women experiencing distressing symptoms. “Changing the narrative by normalising menopause and emphasising positive or neutral aspects such as freedom from menstruation, pregnancy and contraception, together with information about managing troublesome symptoms might empower women to manage menopause with greater confidence,” Hickey said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 June 2022
  16. News Article
    Women are wasting their time and money buying do-at-home menopause testing kits, doctors have warned. The urine tests are not predictive enough to tell whether a woman is going through the phase when her periods will stop, doctors have told the BBC. The tests, which give a result within minutes, accurately measure levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps manage the menstrual cycle. But experts say it is not a reliable marker of the menopause or perimenopause. Dr Annice Mukherjee, a leading menopause and hormone doctor from the Society of Endocrinology, told the BBC the FSH urine tests were “another example of exploitation of midlife women by the commercial menopause industry, who have financial conflicts of interest”. “It’s not helpful for women to access [FSH] directly,” she said. “It is not a reliable marker of perimenopause and can cause more confusion among women taking the test. At worst, misinterpretation of results can cause harm.” The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), along with other leading experts in women’s health, said the tests could be unhelpful and potentially misleading. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 10 June 2022
  17. News Article
    Hundreds of thousands of women could benefit from cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as part of a scheme to cut prescription costs. The Department of Health said that from April, women prescribed HRT as part of menopause treatment will be able to access a new scheme to enable access to a year’s worth of treatment for just under £20. The announcement follows the publication of the government’s women’s health strategy for England last summer. Minister for Women Maria Caulfield said: “Around three-quarters of women will experience menopause symptoms, with one-quarter experiencing severe symptoms, which can seriously impact their quality of life. “Reducing the cost of HRT is a huge moment for improving women’s health in this country, and I am proud to be announcing this momentous step forward. “In our Women’s Health Strategy, we made menopause a top priority – by making HRT more accessible, we’re delivering on our commitment to women.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 February 2023
  18. News Article
    Private menopause clinics are prescribing HRT at "twice the recommended dose", an investigation has revealed. The investigation by The Pharmaceutical Journal has revealed that patients attending private menopause clinics are subject to “unorthodox prescribing” by providers. Many are receiving oestrogen at up to double the recommended dose placing them at higher risk of cancer and vaginal bleeding. Nuttan Tanna, a pharmacist consultant in women’s health at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, said she had seen referrals for “bleeding investigations” and then found the patient was on "very large doses [of oestrogen] prescribed previously by private providers”. Brendon Jiang, a senior clinical pharmacist for North Oxfordshire Rural Alliance Primary Care Network, said that his team were increasingly getting letters from private clinics requesting for patients to be prescribed doses of oestrogen that are off-label or exceed licensed recommendations. He also raised concerns that patients were not taking enough progesterone alongside increased doses of oestrogen. Taking increased doses of oestrogen alone can increase the risk of womb cancer but progesterone protects against that risk and therefore the two hormones should be taken together. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 19 December 2022 Further reading on the hub: Surgical menopause: a toolkit for healthcare professionals (British Menopause Society) Menopause Support - Getting the most out of your doctor’s appointment World Menopause Day 2022: Raising awareness of surgical menopause All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause: Inquiry to assess the impacts of menopause and the case for policy reform - conclusions
  19. News Article
    Hospital staff in Nottingham have said they are keen to build on the success of its menopause support scheme. Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) said 24% of its staff were aged 45-55, the most common age for the condition. Staff can ask for lighter uniforms, shift changes, more time to complete tasks or access to fans in offices. Advice, awareness training and access to specialist staff are also part of the scheme. The staff wellbeing team at NUH said they were "inundated" with messages from colleagues who were struggling. Jenny Good, NUH Staff Wellbeing Lead, said: "We strongly believe that menopause is an issue for everybody. Everyone knows somebody who will go through it. "We wanted to equip everyone who works at NUH with an awareness of what menopause is. "We're really proud that we're the first NHS trust to get the accreditation. "The conversation has opened up." Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 December 2022
  20. News Article
    A menopause doctor says scammers using her name to illegally sell testosterone online are damaging women's health. Dr Louise Newson, who founded Newson Health, has warned patients a website has stolen her brand and logo and is selling the sex hormone unlawfully. "We do not sell medication directly to anyone online," she adds. Testosterone is illegal to sell or supply without a prescription from a health professional and currently unlicensed in the UK for use by women. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends it can be considered as a supplement for menopausal woman to treat low sexual desire if HRT alone is not effective. Dr Newson, whose private clinics operate in Stratford-upon-Avon, London, Southampton and Bournemouth, said medication was only prescribed after a consultation with a clinician. "As far as we are aware no Newson Health patients have fallen victim to this scam and we sincerely hope this remains the case," she said. The practice is working with relevant organisations to have the fraudulent website taken down, she added. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 June 2023
  21. News Article
    A woman who had a hysterectomy has said she was discharged without sufficient information on its impact on her physical and mental health. Mechelle Davis, from County Down, said it was crucial women left hospital with appropriate medication and advice. Her operation involved removal of her womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix. Ms Davis was 48 when she had her operation and said she had no option but to look online for advice, something she described as "unsatisfactory". "I had the operation in October 2022 and didn't go on HRT until the following February," she told BBC News NI. "Every woman who is going through the menopause - including surgically induced - needs support. In its online tool for clinicians, British Menopause Society advise that HRT plays a significant role in managing surgical menopause, especially in women under 45 - provided there are no contradictions such as personal history of hormone dependant cancer. It also adds that "all women undergoing surgical menopause should have counselling and be provided with information about the hormonal consequences of surgery and the role of HRT, both before surgery and before leaving hospital with clear communication to the primary care team." BBC News NI has spoken to other women who, after having a hysterectomy, were discharged without advice or a HRT prescription. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 May 2023 Further reading on the hub: World Menopause Day 2022: Raising awareness of surgical menopause
  22. News Article
    The link between menopause and poor mental health should be reviewed, the health watchdog has said, after an inquiry into a woman’s suicide found staff lack training to spot the risks. Frances Wellburn, 56, took her own life in 2020 after she was incorrectly assessed as being a “medium risk” of suicide by Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Trust (TEWV). A national study by the Health and Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), prompted by her death, warned that this was a national problem, with funding and capacity problems driving staff to use ineffective “checklist” tools when assessing suicidal patients. HSIB also found staff were not trained to spot mental health risks associated with menopause, and menopause is not routinely considered a contributing factor among women with low mood who need help. It said that women are often prescribed antidepressants when hormone replacement therapy (HRT) would be more appropriate. In Ms Wellburn’s case, HSIB found TEWV staff had failed to take into account that she was going through menopause when they assessed her as being at medium risk of self-harm. This went against national guidance, which states scales should not be used to predict future suicide or self-harm. Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 March 2023
  23. News Article
    The NHS faces an “exodus” of female doctors who are struggling to work due to a lack of menopause support, a report has warned. The Medical Protection Society, which helps doctors in legal and ethical disputes, said that many quit or reduce their hours over fears that their menopause symptoms, such as brain fog, insomnia and hot flushes, will cause them to accidentally harm patients. A survey found that 36 per cent of female doctors have considered reducing their hours because of menopause symptoms, while one in five have considered early retirement. “With females making up most of the healthcare workforce, it is crucial that they can access the support they need to avoid an exodus from the profession,” the report said. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 26 October 2022
  24. News Article
    Women should be invited for a menopause check-up when they turn 45, a report for MPs says, criticising the current support as completely inadequate. The Menopause All-Party Parliamentary Group says it has listened carefully to women's experiences, including difficulties getting a diagnosis and accessing hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). Many had long waits or were offered antidepressants, against guidelines. The report covers a year-long inquiry. It says action is needed to improve the situation for those going through the menopause, and the families, friends and colleagues affected by it. And a health check offered to all women in their mid-40s, as they approach the perimenopause - when hormones decline and menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, can begin - should help ensure the necessary support and care as early as possible. The inquiry heard a 39-year-old who suspected she was perimenopausal was turned away by her GP and told to "wait and see". Some 18 months later, she was "almost at the verge of collapsing, struggling to keep my usually happy marriage on track and not functioning well physically or mentally". The report also warns a socio-economic divide is emerging between women able to access the right treatment and those who lose out in the postcode lottery and do not have the financial means to seek treatment elsewhere. Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 October 2022
  25. Content Article
    Joint safety alert from the British Menopause Society, Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Society for Endocrinology and the Royal College of Nursing Women’s Health Forum.
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